Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that underprivileged children in 18 Central and Eastern Oregon counties will receive more than $120,000 in toys this holiday season as part of the state's share of a national settlement achieved in 1999 with retailer Toys "R" Us.
"This is the third year we have distributed thousands of dollars of toys to Oregon's children. What a meaningful way to begin the holiday season," Myers said. "This year's settlement distribution also includes grants to educational programs that benefit children."
Today and Wednesday, representatives from Eastern and Central Oregon counties will load trucks in Salem and Eugene with new toys. The trucks will deliver the toys to distribution centers in those counties during the next few weeks. Counties include Jefferson, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam, Morrow, Umatilla, Wheeler, Baker, Wallowa, Union, Hood River, Deschutes, Crook, Grant, Malheur, Harney, Lake and Klamath.
Oregon was part of national, multi-state antitrust settlements in 1998 and 1999 totaling $50 million with national retailer Toys "R" Us and toy manufacturers Mattel, Hasbro and The Little Tikes Company. This resulted in Oregon receiving toys worth more than $389,000 over the next four holiday seasons and approximately $150,000 in cash for children's programs.
Last holiday season, Oregon received $184,000 in toys. The Governor's Toy Drive received $40,000 in toys and Oregon Department of Justice received $144,599 worth of toys, which were distributed in Western Oregon counties.
The 2000 holiday season distribution includes the awarding of $20,000 grants to the Oregon Children's Foundation S.M.A.R.T. program of Portland and Libri Foundation of Eugene. OCF's S.M.A.R.T (Start Making a Reader Today) program develops early reading programs for children in kindergarten through second grade, targeting at-risk children who have below average reading skills. The Libri Foundation will use its grant to re-distribute $1,000 grants to 20 rural Oregon libraries to buy new books.
In addition to the two $20,000 grants, the Department of Justice in 2001 will solicit applications from government agencies, non-profit organizations, and charities for more than $100,000 in smaller grants for the purpose of purchasing books and other educational materials for children. Attorney General Myers will appoint an advisory board to determine the recipients of the spring 2001 grants.
The 1998 and 1999 settlements resolved a lawsuit filed in 1997 by the Attorneys General of 44 states alleging that the defendants conspired for more than 10 years to withhold popular toys from low margin warehouse clubs that undercut Toys "R" Us prices. As a result of these illegal agreements between the manufacturers and the retailer, warehouse clubs could not compete in price with Toys "R" Us and consumers paid more for the toys.
For more information concerning these settlements and other consumer protection issues, consumers may call the Attorney General's hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org